Monday, May 01, 2006

I haven’t written in a long time. I was sort of on a once a month schedule but it’s been longer, over two months. Time flies, even here! Okay, I wrote the following information this morning. After I am finished online I am headed to Abrafo, where my fellow PCV Dixie lives (sometimes, she has housing/village issues) because a new chief is being instooled. It should be interesting. I'll be sure to note any special experiences while there. Read on but warning, some grumpiness is addressed in the following blog....

I don’t know where the time has gone. April 10th marked a quarter of the way done with PC Ghana, that’s the full 27 months. The next milestone is October 26th which will be half way (this is an estimate). It’s crazy because it feels like it’s going by really fast.

We had our In-Service Training (IST) a couple weeks ago. It was nice to see everyone in the Small Enterprise Development (SED) group. There are 11 of us left. There were some 2nd year volunteers also there to help in our sessions, all of whom are doing wonderful things at their sites. We went over a lot of ideas in IST and I think everyone left feeling really excited. After getting back to site I got sick so all week pretty much didn’t do anything. Just a little stomach problems-a little rest and fluids was all that was needed.

We’re headed into the rainy season and all week it’s rained in Mesomagor. Being on the edge of the forest we get rain pretty much throughout the year but it’s already started pretty heavy. Okay-please skip next paragraph if you really don’t want to be grossed out….

On Tuesday it rained really hard, for a couple hours. That morning I had been my sickest for the week, running back and forth to the latrine. Luckily in the afternoon before the rain started my problem ceased slightly (possibly because there was nothing left in my body). So, when the rain started and I just lay around in my room. When it’s really hot I’ll lie on the concrete floor on a sheet, it cools you off nicely. So, I was lying on the floor resting. Once the rain stopped, probably around 5 or 5:30 I had to urinate (you don’t say pee here, no one understands and if you say use the toilet they think it means number 2) so I headed to my latrine. Okay – here’s the disgusting part, please stop reading if you are easily sickened. When I lifted the lid to sit down I luckily glanced at the edge of the rim of the seat where I proceeded to see a mass exodus of maggots from the toilet. I started to cry, in anger, disgust and desperation. Because of all of the rain water had gotten into the latrine (somehow) and this is why they were traveling out of the latrine. I got some bleach and squirted it around the seat and into the pit and didn’t go to the bathroom until the next day, when there was no more visual problem. Okay, disgusting – sorry – but had to get it off my chest. A very low point for me.

So, yesterday I decided to come to Cape Coast because I could do a few things on Sunday and then Monday go to the Ghana Tourism Board to meet with them. I was excited and ready to be productive. On my way to Cape Coast I found out it is May 1st, which is May Day, which is a public holiday in Ghana. Therefore, I would not be doing anything today because nothing is open. I am now waiting to meet with the GTB tomorrow and then will go back to site. I hope my cat can make it without me for an extra day.

My project is slow and it’s getting frustrating. I hope after meeting with the GTB they can provide some guidance, assistance or support. Also, the community is supposed to get a small-scale palm oil production machine. Twenty people have formed a co-operative and are getting a loan through the district assembly for the machine. This can be a lucrative business as the palm oil supply in Ghana does not meet the demand. I am hoping to work with this co-operative and do some business advising with them. Some of the members are excited for me to help them so it excites me. The problem right now is we don’t have the machine and don’t know when we’re going to get it. Hopefully soon J

School also resumes tomorrow (technically). It’ll be the third term and I am going to start working with the JSS1 and JSS2 students (equivalent to grade 7 and 8). I am looking forward to this but am worried also. Their command of English is poor so communication will be difficult. At least having a teacher in the classroom is better than not having one at all, which is what they usually get. I also won’t be caning then for being late or yelling at them all the time, so maybe it’ll work out. (be positive)

I can’t tell you how many public school buildings have been built, some by this government but mostly outside government funds and non-government organizations (NGO’s) that sit empty because there are no teachers or the ones employed just don’t bother showing up or they have the kids doing something other than learning. It’s frustrating because when we see a kid in a hut of a classroom with no books we think “oh, poor child, they are so deprived,” so we build a building and give books and send money for school fees. We think we did enough. We never make sure that the building is used for a school, that the books aren’t used for toilet paper and that the money isn’t spent on something other than school. It’s difficult and you have to trust whatever you do but it’s a double edge sword. We try to help but are we just making the people more dependant on us, the outsiders? A lot of volunteers encounter people telling them that the people of this country can’t do it; an outsider has to come and do it. It’s very frustrating and is hard as a PCV because I’m not here to do it; I’m here to help the community members do it.

Alright, that’s quite a long rant. Obviously I have some frustrations :) but overall I’m doing fine. Also don't think I am saying not to donate or volunteer to good worldly causes but there's a lot of money thrown around and little accountability. Hopefully things will pick up in my community and project soon. I’m looking forward to seeing family and friends in late July (I’ll be going to California for my best friend’s wedding and to see family). I hope everyone is doing well. Keep me up to date on your lives.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

sarah-i miss you so much, i've been checking all the time to see if you'd posted, i was so glad to see that you finally did. i'm sorry there are so many frustrations, but i'm glad to see you are coping well and doing so well. i love you dearly!!!!

10:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sarah-Hope to see you in July with you Mom and Dad. (Mandy and Matt too.) Marilyn is in France and will be back in late June and Robyn is going to Brazil next year. We watched a video the other day of You, Mandy, Robyn, Marilyn and Renee swimming in our little pool. You should give your cat a name. How about Rush! Uncle Rob

9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Madalyn and I just wanted to say hi! I was teaching her how to use the world wide web... she needs to get out of people's mouths!

So, I shared your blog. You should join myspace, we're all doing it!

Miss you - Kate and Madalyn

7:32 PM  

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